The Knoxville Police Department has received multiple recent reports of scams targeting area businesses.
In these particular scams, an employee of the business receives a call from an individual pretending to work for the corporate office. The caller then manufactures a reason for the employee to take money from the cash register and send it via unusual methods, such as via Green Dot or gift cards, Bitcoin transfer or a Western Union transaction.
Businesses that have recently been victimized by this scam and swindled out of money include local convenience stores, pharmacies and restaurants, such as CVS Pharmacy, Walgreen’s, Weigel’s and Denny’s.
This scam uses many of the same tactics that law enforcement traditionally sees. The scammer poses as a legitimate and credible authority figure to manipulate the person on the receiving end of those calls to fraudulently acquire money. The scammer also requests that money is shared through mechanisms that are very difficult to trace.
As a reminder, never give money or personal information to unverified sources. Also, if somebody is asking for money to be sent via gift cards, Bitcoin or other similar methods, chances are that it is a scam.
Businesses should advise their employees to always verify the source of any caller who claims to be from the corporate office or seeks money from the business.